When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

"Every improvement in communication makes the bore more terrible." - Frank Moore Colby


Pictures from March and April:

"A* for students. C cup for Women...
'No more sitting in a corner while watching my friends play beach volleyball. I can flaunt my assets in a bikin without any paddings or push up! If it works for me, it definitely will for you too!' - Satisfied client, Janelle Yeo"
After coming across so many bust enhancement ads, I still think this one takes the prize for sheer WTF value.


"Agagooga was here"
I haven't been back to the box since (IIRC) though

"Creamy braised zucchini with cheddar cheese" - This looks disgusting, besides being wrongly-described

Disgusting acupoints

"Full in SIZE, little in CALORIES... INSTANTLY!... FREE OF preservatives. Halal"
It also looks like dog food.

I actually know someone who got his own wax seal

"Hippotours: Multi-Lingual System - Kiddo"

Falungong's "Mobile Quitting CCP Service Center"
I love how a rock with anti-CCP words on it suddenly appeared.

Apparently you need to tell people when a pawnshop opens - to reduce gambling?

"Pontian Wanton Noodles
Handmade noodles • Very tasty • No preservatives • Takeaway noodles won't soften
1. Chilli sauce
2. Black suace
3. Chilli with black sauce
4. Tomato sauce"
Very effusive. They were alright - tasty, not "very tasty". I like how you get many choices of sauce.

SPCA donation box - I've not seen these for a long time. They're quite rare nowadays.

"Shanghai Delight" - serving Taiwanese food

"Vegetarian. Suitable for all religions"
They left our Jains, sadly. Interestingly, the last time I passed by, in the last week, their Halal certification had gone. Perhaps it was costing them too much. Or they didn't want to distort the labour market by having to hire Muslims (I think they're run by PRCs)

Supreme Court Open House - timeline of the development of Singapore's legal system. Oddly, despite the mention of the Privy Council, they do not talk about that glorious day in 1989 when we abolished most Privy Council appeals. Nor that other almost-as-glorious one in 1994 when all rights of appeal to it were abolished.

"'I want visible results, fast!'
The slimming pill you popped may yield side effects"
I like this HPB ad. Notice her breasts are still more-or-less alright - maybe she also went for bust enhancement.

Tang Dynasty Grave Goods

"Teppan Fried Prawn"
Maybe people just want the hotplate kick

Textured ice cubes at Esplanade Library cafe. I don't know why they bother.

"Poste a pourvoir a partir du 1er Avril 2009 a la Mediatheque de l'Alliance Francaise
- Français parlé/écrit courant...
Vacancy for part-time librarian at Alliance Francaise
- Excellent written/oral communications in French"

Notice that:
1) You don't need knowledge of English
2) Though they want French proficiency, the job ad is bilingual

Go figure

According to the KTV system, "Indian" is a language

"Theme songs *Mao Zedong's face*"

From the Peranakan museum:

ACM cat memorial

"Gifts from bridegroom's family to bride's family
A tray bearing the gift of an uncooked leg of pork was always given. Pork was an important sacrificial meat to the Peranakans and was used in important occasions like weddings and as food offerings on the ancestral alter. In this exchange of gifts, the uncooked pork leg was an acknowledgement by the bridegroom's family that they were receiving a virginal bride."


In return, the bridegroom's family would cut off the top part and return the pork leg (no sense wasting good pork). Incidentally, this is also why no pork Peranakan restaurants are a filthy abomination.

"Peranakans also pray to local spirits and deities called Datok. Interestingly, many Datok are considered to be Malay and therefore Muslim, so no pork or alcohol will be offered to them."

"Brendan Choo
Hokkien Peranakan
"The way I speak and how I look makes me feel Peranakan."

Clement Tan
Hokkien Peranakan
"It's not necessary for you to know me as a Baba. I am a Baba. If you don't accept me as a Baba, it doesn't matter, because I am.""

This display is very problematic.

For the former, he likely does not speak any Baba Malay or Malay. And he looks pure Chinese to me. In fact, I'm surprised he's so well-versed in his heritage - maybe he was told what to say.

As for the latter, maybe he didn't know what else to say. Or he has had issues with people rejecting his claims to be Peranakan in the past.

Prata Cafe near NUS Bukit Timah:

"All food is freshly prepared, please be patient. The taste is remembered long, after the wait is forgotten."

Notice the pre-made prata inside the box.

"We Cater North / South Indian Food For All Occasions. SELF COLLECTION ONLY"
This is the first catering service where you must collect the food yourself.
"Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip." - Will Rogers


Jogjakarta trip
Day 5 - 2nd May - Jogjakarta, Kuala Lumpur

Whereas Bahasa Malaysia has taken many words from English, Bahasa Indonesia has borrowed some from Dutch, so you have words like Apotek/Apotik (pharmacy), Gratis (free), Kantor (from Dutch Kantoor - office), Reklame (advertisement), Wortel (carrot), Kualitas/Kwalitas (quality - it has more dignity than "Kualiti"), Kassa (counter) and 'Bioscop' (cinema). There were also other words which I didn't pick up, since the English and Dutch words are sometimes the same (more at Indonesische woorden van Nederlandse oorsprong).

Ice cream carts in Indonesia seem to play the Paddle Pop theme on PC speaker.

We asked many people - Tourist Information, our hotel reception, a higher-class hotel's reception - but no one knew what Rijsttafel was. This was very annoying.

We went into a snacks shop to see if there was anything nice to buy. However the only thing of note was:

Hello Kuching in Jogja. Compared to Hello Kitty, Hello Kuching is very ugly

We then walked around the shopping centre, and then the supermarket.

"Canggih. Efisien. Modern."
Maybe there's no word for "Modern" in Bahasa.

"Brownies Bakar" (Grilled [?] Brownies). Uhh...

There was the smell of an open drain in part of the supermarket. Ugh. Even in Malaysia you don't (or I haven't) encountered that.

Loose nuggets. This is quite ingenious (if not totally hygenic, but hey, this is Indonesia)

The supermarket called itself "Hero. The Fresh Food People". I found that suspicious, then I saw products from the First Choice brand. Apparently it's a Cold Storage subsidiary.

Babi corner


Someone had told me that Indonesian Pringles were much nicer than Malaysian ones, but the ones I found were made in Malaysia. Gah.

"4 in 1 Hot Agar Drink. Rasa Cappuccino Flavour" - wth. And it has Krimer.

The Indonesians call this familiar childhood snack "Gem Kembang"

I saw 5 ang mohs I guessed were Portuguese and their shoppin cart was amazing:

In their multiple shopping carts were 17 bottles of water. Maybe they were going to the dessert desert.

We then went to this restaurant which advertised rijsttafel. When we got in, they said they had it last time, but not anymore. Gah. The previous night we'd called up a place but they required a minimum of 4 people eating, so. Meanwhile Via Via had it but it was far away and we were flying off this day, so.

Avocado milkshake with chocolate sauce. It tasted and looked like cake batter.

Soto Madura: "chicken soup with a rich filling of chicken, bean sprouts, bean-flour, vermicelli, tomato, egg and celery"
CWN: "It tastes like Maggi Mee... It tastes like Maggi Chicken... They probably started with that as the base. But then we're in ripoff land"

Soup menu. Notice how the French Fries are "imported".

"Es Jeruk" has more dignity than "Jus Oren". But at most places it's probably Kordial - maybe that's why they can't call it Jus. Only at 2-3 places was it recognisably orange in colour and with pulp and/or seeds. At the rest it was pale yellow or cream.

Gado Gado. It wasn't very good.

Lamb satay, Ayam Ubut/Ubat Bali

Ayam Opor. This was sweet. Big surprise.

The chicken dishes were made from kampung chicken, which was damn tough. Just eating was tiring. This must be why Indonesians like ayam penyet (smashed chicken) - if you don't smash the chicken it's very hard to eat. And why they like ayam, mie and nasi goreng - they are easy to eat.

In general the food here ranged from bad to mediocre, but one dish was especially bad:

Half the sate kambing was of shit quality: unchewable and inedible.

False advertising: "rijsttafel"

El cheapo car screen

We then took a teksi to the airport.

"Bahaya Laten Korupsi"
You might as well try to reduce the humidity.

We passed by a sign reading "no rats" (for some anti-rat campaign). The irony was that I didn't see any rats during my trip.

Air freshener in the taxi. Uhh.

Motorsikal Ad: "New powerful engine. 110cc". Bah.

"NOW, enjoy the AIRBUS A380's flight from HUGOS to anywhere you wanto n 9 May 2009...."

What CWN said was the airforce academy (it might be the Museum Dirgantara Mandala - Airforce Museum) was amazingly hideous - it had a large eagle over the gateway, and its wings were touching the ground, so when you entered you'd be going under the eagle.

This guy was going from car to car - either to ask for money or to get people to lower their windows so he and his accomplices could carjack them. I also saw this a couple of times at other areas with slow traffic.

We wanted to visit Sambisari, where there were a lot of yoni and linga, since it was near the airport, but didn't have time. Or so we thought (more on this later).

Even at the airport, the shops selling tau sar piah had no price tag, and they kept quoting me ridiculous prices. Even when I was about to leave this wretched land, they couldn't stop sucking my money.

After clearing immigration, we were stuck in:

The most boring airport waiting area in the world. It had exactly what you see in the picture - nothing.

"Fiskal". From the picture of a passport with a $1,000 in it, I knew this was where you bribed the Indonesian immigration officials.

While waiting for our plane, we realised that the boarding time had passed without our being asked to board the plane. On further enquiry, we found that AirAsia had moved our flight forward back by an hour without telling us (or any of the other passengers, who all arrived at the airport at the time they would need to make the original flight). This went directly against their policy of notifying you a few days before - maybe AirAsia Indonesia takes on aspects of the country. To add mortal wound to injury (CWN missed her connecting flight because of this), they didn't even tell us when we were checking in (and the check-in counter opened at a suitable time for the original flight timing, giving us even less chance to suspect that we'd been screwed). GRR.

While waiting, we got to watch more awful Indonesian TV. An Indonesian newscaster saluted the camera at the end of her newscast. Maybe she was a TNI agent.

Even after the flight had been pushed back by 1 hour, the plane landed 5 minutes after the delayed boarding time. Hah.

CWN had earlier told the AirAsia staff to put her near the plane exit so she could catch her connecting flight. They put her near the Emergency Exit. Damn Indons.

AirAsia must be the only airline where stewardesses let their hair down. Almost all of them dye their hair too - maybe it's part of their uniform.

The AirAsia in-flight magazine was a priceless read:

"Get in your car, take the Kesas Highway and head for Banting. From the Banting turnoff, it's approximately 15km to Banting Pekan Baru. Once there, follow the road past a fire station, Maybank, TUDM (Tentera Udara DiRaja Malaysia or Royal Malaysian Air Force) base, oil palm plantation and mausoleum; you will find the restaurant on your right."
What passes for directions in Malaysia. Also, the article (by 'Beverly Rodrigues') made it sound like you could not get Beggar's Chicken anywhere else in the world.

"Uluwatu Tradition"
Notice it's the local who is filming the ang moh. Hurr hurr.

Geography according to AirAsia was also interesting, as their in-flight magazine was politically loaded (either that or stunningly ignorant, which is another possibility):

Notice that Northern Ireland does not exist

Israel is missing from this map of the Middle East (look at the country borders).

Both East Timor and Irian Jaya are missing - this one's probably incompetence, since this pisses off both the East Timorese and the Indonesians. And there's a huge gulf between the island with Irian Jaya and the rest of Indonesia.

The borders are also not drawn fully (see the lines that end in the middle of nowhere)

Malaysian duty free does not sell alcohol to Muslims. I don't know how they enforce this.

You can't bring goods from Haiti or cloth with Quranic verses into Bolehland. I don't get the former - maybe they're scared of Voodoo.

Someone checked in a whole carton of Mi goreng. And marked it 'fragile'. Hah.

"KLIA World's Best Airport"
Only in the same alternate reality where the oldest man in Malaysia is older than the oldest man in the World. Actually, this is true *with two caveats*: it was during 2005/2006, and it was for the 15-25 million passengers/year category.

The Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) didn't seem to have any seats, so I went outside to try and settle down.

Outside. The aircon leaking from the various establishments kept it reasonably cool.

Upsizing was not on the menu of the LCCT McDonalds, and I'd forgotten when the last time they didn't ask me to upsize at McDonalds was - amazing. And, cutting corners, their McFlurry was far from full:

CWN said she'd rather sleep on the street outside Roma Termini train station than in KL LCCT, but I hunkered down for the night anyway:

I seemed to have the most interrupted sleep although I had a large backpack for a pillow (squashing my food in the process).

I think the floor was actually better than the pokey seats. I should've slept on it.

After 3-4 hours of fitful sleep, I gave up and went to McDonalds again. There, I found that they were out of Ayam Goreng, and people were sleeping inside.

In keeping with Malaysian Kualiti, my meal was horrible. The McChicken patty was very dry (though bigger than Singapore) and the kecap was too tart. Even the Coke I had was vile (too little syrup).

Walking in to check in I realised there -were- chairs inside, but they could not be slept on. And anyway it was too cold.

Restrictions on liquids don't apply to Malaysian domestic flights. Probably because no one will bother blowing one up.

Southeast Asia travel (and in general Third World travel) is not for me. It's hot, humid, dirty and smelly; you run the risk of food poisoning, people try to cheat you, you have a lot of "friendly" people who try to sell you something, things are unpredictable as they are not institutionalised (for example, you have to bargain for prices; even if things are institutionalised, they are rarely done in an accessible way, e.g. unwritten timetables, unmarked bus stops).

Specifically for Indonesia, never trust 好朋友 (seemingly friendly people) who offer to bring you to Batik "art exhibitions" which have variable ending dates (often close to the current date, or even on it) despite having signs which look permanent.


[On Soto Madura] It tastes like Maggi Mee... It tastes like Maggi Chicken... They probably started with that as the base. But then we're in ripoff land

[On the supplementary airport tax] I even had to pay for the pleasure of leaving this country. This sucks.

Can I unwrap your Horus and admire him? [Me: That sounds vaguely wrong]

[On GPRS] It's what? 1 cent per byte?

[On Jus Oren] Is there palm olein in this?

[On AirAsia] They are collectively the most hiao stewardesses from any airline. And I mean that in a good way... I like them for the same reason I like Xiaxue.


Thanks to MFM for pointing out typos]
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